Once upon a time I was asked to play softball as a much needed fill-in on a local co-ed team. A player had dropped out at the last minute and after multiple attempts to find a replacement the team was desperately seeking someone – anyone, to play.
So there I found myself on the bench, watching the players on my team go up to bat, making hit after hit, running bases and earning runs. Being a born encourager this turned out to be an opportune time to pick up some new baseball-ish lingo and for the bulk of the game I called out “Hey battabattabatta” every chance I got.
I should mention that as a child I was a very fast runner. The boys at school would chase me and I’d out-run them by a mile. I was naive enough not to realize that a slightly slower pace might have been wiser but instead, like in Chariots of Fire, I ran like the wind. Then in high school there was my brief career on the girls volleyball team. It ended with another player’s glasses being broken due to my inexperienced enthusiasm. I was pretty much scarred for life after that incident.
A handful of years had passed by the time the captain of this friendly, just-for-fun team had asked me to play. Little did I know how desperately they wanted to avoid forfeiting just because of an insufficient number of players.
The moment finally came and I went up to the plate. Taking an awkward grip on the bat I waited for the pitch then swung with all my might. Once, twice, three times and struck out. It was a “first and only” kind of experience. Truly a one and done. Surprisingly they never asked me back. My career in church league ball ended then and there.
I recently saw a framed piece of wall art in the Hobby Lobby clearance section that read, “when life throws you a curve ball, pick up the bat and swing.”
There’s no lasting shame associated with that fleeting moment in my sports history. I stepped up to the plate and swung like a champ. I’d much rather go down swinging than never to have gone at all.